To us, September has always been an interesting transition in the garden. It’s a time of softening light as we wave goodbye to the last few days of hot sunshine and welcome the cooler evenings and darker mornings.
It’s also a month you can hear collective relief, as millions of parents wave their little darlings off to school for the first time in months, since lock down started. Not only will our kitchen tables no longer be ad-hoc classrooms, filled with responsibilities of numerical tables and spelling tests, but also our gardens, too, get some rest from footballs and rampaging children (or grandchildren). It’s a time of peace as we glide elegantly towards Autumn and welcome the Clematis, Cynara carunculus, Rhodochiton atrosanguineus, the fiery Foeniculum vulgare.
Clematis ‘My Angel’
Everybody with some kind of space should grow at least one clematis - they are pretty easy and come in just about every colour and any size. This photograph beautifully showcases the clematis. Those plum coloured casings would make an excellent blazer colour! Then we have the velvety flower, glossy and glorious in its pomp with pert anthers and saucy sepals. Fast growing, so needs space. Good on a wall or pergola but will also work scrambling through shrubs.
Height 3m x Spread 1.5m
Cynara ‘High drama’
This beauty is not a plant for the faint hearted: it's a muscular thing that is the absolute epitome of what designers call architectural planting. It has massive silvery leaves, and these towering flowerheads that seem to draw every bee in the borough when in bloom and every small bird when the seed heads have formed. If you can make the space, you’ll never regret it.
Height 2m x Spread 1.2m
Rhodochiton atrosanguineus ‘The clapper’
If you want some dangle that can climb, then this is the one for you. The flower contres hang down like the clappers of a particularly beautiful bell. It is a tender bulb, so will sadly not last the deep winter months, but is really useful for covering the ankles of their climbers. If you don't like the look of the bottom of your rose, then this is the solution.
Height 2m x Spread 50cm
Foeniculum vulgare ‘playing with fire’
Otherwise known as Fennel, this is one of those plants that bridge the gap between the flower garden and the kitchen garden. It's, as you know, great as a herb but excellent in borders. The stiff stems are particularly useful as an informal support to floppier perennials like this glorious helenium. Both plants also give great skeletal structure into the winter. But watch out - the Foeniculum can be an invasive plant, so be vigilant.
Height 1.8m x Spread 40cm
“September days are here. With summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer” - Helen Hunt Jackson
Let us know what plants you're excited to start seeing in September!